A new art exhibition celebrates the life of a young motorcyclist tragically killed in a crash by displaying many of his items held dearly by his family.
Artist Brigid Mulligan presents the exhibition in memory of her late brother who died 20 years ago.
She hopes the exhibition acts not only as a ‘poignant & thought-provoking’ memorial to him but also as an instigator for others to open up conversations about their own experiences of grief and loss.
Entitled ‘A Portrait of Life Through Belonging’ the new solo exhibition which is showcased in the Saldanha Gallery up until 24 July 2022, includes twenty-one life-size cyanotype prints (one for each year of life) ranging from a wristwatch to a motorcycle, a collection of belongings that Brigid’s late brother owned.
The artist’s family has held onto each item as if it were a part of him.
The exhibition also includes a series of light sculptures including a ‘Chandelier’ that explores what alternative shrines could look like.
Brigid explains: “I am compelled to create work that investigates my perspective of loss in the greater context of how Irish society deals with grief. Having experienced the loss of my brother due to a motorbike accident when I was just sixteen, I felt there was a lack of understanding around communicating grief.
“The work is an exploration of the beauty within pain and the material is interchangeable chosen to reciprocate the intent. It is vital that the work opens up spaces for meaningful conversations – and the benefit of exhibiting this work at Artlink Fort Dunree provides the opportunity to engage with new audiences while opening up a conversation about how we experience grief.
“It is important to bring non-art communities like the Irish bikers into the art gallery and engage with the people of Donegal who have also experienced high levels of loss due to road traffic accidents. Through the guise of art-making we can safely explore our previously unshared perspective on grief.”
Artlink Project Co-ordinator Rebecca Strain added: “This exhibition was selected from over 50 applications because it not only enables an Irish artist to develop their practice but its theme is very relevant to the community living and visiting here. Many motorcyclists visit Fort Dunree over the summer and we wanted to show artwork that spoke to their community.
“Last year and this year we’ve been working with the Irish Hospice Foundation on the Compassionate Culture Network project in Buncrana. We saw that there was a real need for people to find space to deal with grief and loss. We hope that Brigid’s use of darkness and light, her sensitivity to grief, even many years on, allows visitors to feel that it’s important to remember people we’ve lost and to find ways to keep them part of our daily lives.
“As Brigid so aptly puts it: “When people die, we frantically try to hold onto them in any way we can, we try to collect objects, memories and places but these all falter. Memories fade as if grasping someone who is a dream.”
‘A Portrait of Life Through Belonging’ by Brigid Mulligan will be showcased at Artlink Fort Dunree up until 24 July 2022 and is open daily from 10:30am – 4:30pm. For further information visit artlink.ie email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0838696513 / 0864532428.
About the artist
In 2018, Brigid Mulligan gained a Masters-in-creative Practice from CCAM Galway. Brigid received a First Class Honours Degree in Fine Art Sculpture from CCAM Galway, in 2009. Her work has been exhibited in group shows in various Museums and Galleries nationwide which include ‘Bring the mind home’, Artlink’s members show, ‘Westival’, Westport Arts festival, ‘In Situ’, 126 Gallery Galway, ‘M:A 18’, Connacht Tribune Gallery, ‘Impressions’ Galway International Arts Festival & ‘Put a lid on it’ Galway Arts Centre. An orbital member of Engage Studio’s Galway since 2019, in collaboration with Sample studios Cork ‘Chandelier’ 2018 was selected and virtually exhibited in Cahoots: The Space Between 2020.
Awards include Create pilot mentorship award 2022, the Project Realization Award, Artist in the Community from Create & the arts Council IRE Artist in the community, R&D award with mentoring from Create IRE & the Arts Council, Agility Award from the Arts Council & Artist Support Scheme, Galway County Council 2021. Professional Development Award from the Arts Council Ireland 2020, RHA Foundation in drawing scholarship 2020/21, residency in 126 Gallery Galway and Galway city Council’s Tyrone Guthrie Bursary 2019. Cill Rialaig, Ballinaskelligs, Kerry and Creative Spark Dundalk & a virtual residency with Digital Art Studios Belfast 2021/22.